October 8, 1999
Real men don't talk.
I'm not talking about whether we'd blab under torture. I know
I would. All they'd have to do is play "La Vida Loca"
two times a day more than MuchMusic already does and I'd tell
No. I mean men actually talking. You know - about stuff, otherwise
known as feelings. And not just whether you're feeling hungry
Women do not understand that when alone, men just don't "talk".
I'm a modern guy. I'm in touch with my feminine side - although
my feminine side is starting to suggest that maybe we should
start seeing other people. The simple fact is when men are alone
together, we don't talk about our women or jobs, or how we wish
we could forge closer relationships with our fathers.
I'm not saying it's healthy. I'm sure it's not. Some of us
keep it bottled up inside and have ulcers, heart attacks or eventually
a neighbourhood reign of terror with a stolen Zamboni. That's
why World War Two should basically be considered just another
form of group therapy for men. Bar fights are really two men
trying to let each other feel their pain. Nothing brings you
closer to your fellow man than a good boot to the groin.
My friend Rob and I get together almost every week. We've
been friends for more than 20 years. After every visit my wife
asks: "So, what did you and Rob talk about?"
The answer is almost always the same: "Nothing".
She thinks I'm lying. She thinks there's some big secret conversation
going on between the beers and cigars. That we're talking about
our hopes and dreams, secret longings or maybe our vision for
But really, we're talking about nothing. It's true - I swear.
I can tell you I have a great time when Rob and I are shooting
the breeze. We laugh a lot, tell stories, and generally keep
it pretty light. The conversation just sort of flows from politics
to movies to old friends to current events. We'll even talk about
recipes, but only if they involve steak and scotch. We are men,
The fact is, men just constantly engage in small talk when
we're alone together.
"So did you ask Rob how Debbie's job is going?"
my wife will ask.
"No," I'll reply.
"Well, did his brother's wife have the baby?"
"I don't know." I seem to recall that Rob has a
brother, but that's the best I can do. I feel like I have to
volunteer something, so I start to grasp at straws. "Rob
did show me a picture he took of a fire truck parked on their
"What was it there for? Was there a fire? Is everyone okay?"
My wife senses there must be a story behind the photo.
"Rob didn't say."
This is the point when my wife stops asking me questions and
gives me the look reserved for difficult children and political
Once over a few beers on the porch, one of my male friends
looked at the assembled group of guys and asked: "Do you
ever think about your role as a man?" Talk about a show-stopper.
You may be able to get away with something like that on Oprah,
but not on a porch full of men.
After a round of blank stares, discussions immediately returned
to whether Schwartzenegger has gone soft on gratuitous violence
since his heart by-pass.
Who says we don't talk about important issues?